Thursday practice notes

CLEMSON - Clemson coach Dabo Swinney emphasized how pleased he was with Thursday's preparation for N.C. State.

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It was the final workout before the Tigers head to Raleigh for Saturday's noon game against the Wolfpack.

"We had a good practice. It was an outstanding Thursday practice on both sides," Swinney said.

Crowd noise was pumped in through speakers at the practice fields to help simulate what could become an issue on Saturday.

"We had really good focus (all week). I'm proud of how they've bounced back this week and gotten back on to the next opponent with their practice habits," Swinney said.

All season he's praised the players' practice performance. Swinney believes the consistent work goes back to off-season drills and workouts.

"We call them the all in drills. As far as the emphasis during the drills, the time during the drills--we really changed out conditioning in camp," he said.

Improved conditioning during off-season workouts has kept the Tigers relatively healthy thus far, with a couple of exceptions.

Da'Quan Bowers is out for Saturday because of a knee sprain. He's the only player that won't be available. Spencer Adams has a touch of the flu this week, but should be fine to play. Coty Sensabaugh is listed as probable with a toe injury. Kantrell Brown has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion against Wake Forest.

"As we go on down the stretch and play some tough opponents, we've been able to finish ball games and we've stayed healthier than we ever have," Swinney said. "A lot of that is because we've learned how to practice and keep each other healthy at practice."

In a game that sees many injuries, Swinney especially "hates" when players are injured during practice.

He gives credit to strength coach Joey Batson and his staff.

"He's got a great plan of how to build these guys up in strength and power. There are a bunch of guys who've made huge gains in the weight room," Swinney said.

There are three different tempos used in practice to keep practices from having too much physical contact. Swinney thinks that's also contributed to keeping players healthy.

"We'll have thud, scrimmage--tackle and what we call tracking, which you're not thudding them up. You're tracking to the ball and tagging off," Swinney said. "We use all those--it's just like the NFL. We use all those different tempos to make sure everybody is on the same page before we do drills."

As confident as Swinney sounds after four days of practice, it appears that everyone is on the same page for Saturday. >

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